In these worst of times, our better angels appear. Often unexpectedly. The pandemic, consequent economic hardship and threatening fires have hit our Valley hard. In the midst of this really difficult time, I got an email from a fairly recent donor to the Foundation. A young man, father of three children, remodeling a home mid-Valley, James has significant economic security with a heart and a conscience to match. Deeply troubled by issues of racial injustice and touched by the actions that Black athletes had taken to focus attention on these issues, James came up with an idea. A very straightforward idea. He wanted people to simply pause and think about what is going on in our country. He wasn’t asking for their conclusions or trying to direct their thoughts. James just believed that it would be helpful to create space for reflection. So he started with his contractor and asked him to give his crew the day off. James would pay them to not work. He would pay them to take stock in any way that made sense for them.
We have all heard the expression “to pay it forward” and here are the dominos in James’s story. His contractor stepped up with an unexpected offer to pay his own crew, and shared his personal thoughts, as a 35-year resident of Oakland, on the country’s long struggle for racial equality. Which lead to James and his family making a generous gift to the Foundation, in the name of his contractor, to assist those who’ve lost their homes in our most recent wildfires.
As I wrote earlier, in these worst of times, our better angels appear. Often two at a time.
I’d like to invite each and every one of you to share a story about something good and remarkable that you have experienced or know about in our Valley. If my job is to help solve the problems we are facing as a community, it is also my job to help share the goodness and the good news that is an even more important part of our community.
Terence P. Mulligan
President & CEO
Napa Valley Community Foundation